Retro bikes how did I ever

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  • Retro bikes how did I ever
  • I have recently built up my old 1995 S/works steel frameset c/w rigid forks after having it hung up for the last 8 or so years when I gave up racing.

    On the road how nice is it to ride it flies and it climbs realy well i was surprised at how good flat bars and bar ends are,with a head down arse up riding position, as for brakes I am using the new Avid shorty4’s and they are superb. It is realy a thing of beauty

    I went off road on it last night it was fuggin horrable

    Flat bars = no control
    rigid forks = mega discomfort and my lights were bouncing all over the place
    Cantilevers = suicide they do not work unless you use 4 fingers

    now I know why I use

    Riser bars = control
    suspension = control and comfort
    Disc brakes = control

    How the hell did i ever race on this, but there again everyone else had about the same I guess and I was in my early 30’s not late 40’s which may explane something

    Sod the rose tinted glasses retro is for shopping use only for me

    will
    Member

    I do know what you mean, was thinking about this the day, when riding down the beast. Came to the conclusion that people must have just gone alot slower…

    Poindexter
    Member

    But you still get idiots recommending that beginners should start out with rigid bikes! Mental, isn’t it!

    flamejob
    Member

    Yeah, but ridged is so reeeal….. man, I mean you’re so in touch with mother earth…

    …. coat.

    Reluctant
    Member

    I agree totally with the original post. I recently bought a ’92 Karakoram, cos i love the paintwork and been riding it to and from work and enjoying it. I took it for a whizz round Swinley on sunday and suffered! I did all the usual techy bits, only a bit slower cos of rigid fork and lack of good brakes. Bit it is still fun, you just get that fun on different sections of trail compared to a modern bike. Nice floaty tyres help on rigid bikes, i was using Hutchinson Pythons at low pressure.
    I still think there’s fun to be had on old bikes and your retro-iron deserves to see the trees once in a while.

    Gary_M
    Member

    Flat bars = no control Make that narrow flat bars, risers are a fashion thing and that is a fact.

    But hey what do I know, I ride off road on a skiiny tyred bike with drop bars.

    Premier Icon Hooter
    Subscriber

    I still take a rigid 94 Kona off road quite regularly when the weather is good. Still great fun to ride just as long as you don’t go anywhere too rocky. It’s got wide flat bars and XT V’s. I wouldn’t have it as my only bike mind πŸ™‚

    nothing wrong with flats in my opinion

    Sorry flat narrow Pace r/c130 bars

    It feels like my wrists are tied together πŸ˜•

    cynic-al
    Member

    risers are a fashion thing and that is a fact.

    Is that why they’ve been selling consistently for 15+years?

    I have a 1991 alu hardtail (head down arse up)that is only used for commuting.I do not know how I managed to ride it off road.

    Premier Icon Onzadog
    Subscriber

    In 1990, I was runnign with my bars cut down to 470mm! I’m amazed I ever managed to stay on the bike!

    Still, the bikes might have come on in leaps and bounds but has the amount of fun changed?

    Gary_M
    Member

    Is that why they’ve been selling consistently for 15+years? Thats why they sell, yes. But they haven’t been selling in big numbers for 15+ years, 10 years more likely.

    Premier Icon Simon E
    Subscriber

    Nostalgia is sometimes spoiled by reality.

    But it can also be about what you’re used to, “you don’t miss what you’ve never had”. I’ve never owned a bike with bouncy forks and discs so my ’97 Hahanna is what I ride offroad. I’m sure I could go faster (downhill at least) and stop much more easily with a newer bike but I like my Kona, and anyway I don’t have money spare for another bike. I can imagine that once I’d ridden a suitably equipped modern steed I’d also find my old nail somewhat primitive by comparison.

    oldgit
    Member

    Did the same with my 92 steel Kona, rigids, cantis, 1.35 CX tyres, flat bars. That was arse high nose low. Like you say great on the fast stuff, bearable on ‘old skool’ xc stuff but otherwise horrendus.
    Though when you look at those old frames they seem to be road frames in minature!

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Subscriber

    The alternative way of looking at it (and this ain’t a better/worse thing particularly) is that you can hop on a bike that you bought 10 years ago for not much money, play in the woods on it and have a really good day. Which, if you were really short of money for some reason, would make you wonder why you’d blown Β£000s on endlessly buying better bikes over the last 10 years.

    I have a better bike than I did 10 years ago. But I’ve wasted a whole lot of money in that time.

    πŸ™‚

    glenp
    Member

    The standard wisdom these days seems to be that riding with flat pedals sharpens up your riding skills – but I’d contend that riding in the 80s/90s flat back, flat bars position really puts a premium on riding well. You just have to get your weight of the bars and ride on your feet not your hands when it gets technical – which is exactly as it should be anyway, except modern equipment doesn’t punish you for getting it wrong.

    Got to say, I still love the aesthetic, but I don’t ride the old Explosif much these days because it is so ridiculously stiff.

    sq225917
    Member

    If you can’t pitch yourself over the bars with your little finger on your cantilever brakes then you need a lesson in bike set up, not disc brakes.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    I used to ride this very bike everywhere! 19-20lbs of climbing whippet.

    Now just last week I showed someone a popular descent we used to do at full speed on these chunky tyred road-bikes – now I’m hoping that erosion has caused the descent to become way more gnarly than it was back in the 90s, cos I couldn’t even get down it! On my Handjob with 130mm travel. I don’t dare go back there on my Yeti, just in case…
    Maybe I was just younger and more stupid.

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Subscriber

    Some of the “need” for bigger bikes is definitely a product of knowing they’re available. Every time I refuse a section now I blame the bike and buy something. 10 years ago I would have bollocked myself for being a chicken.

    πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    I have a 1992 Breeezer Storm, rigid & cantis. It’s great fun playing in the local woods, but I would never use it for trail centres and the like. I’m not that good! And it’s very noticeable how much more tired I am after a ride than on the full bouncer.

    Pics here: http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16009

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I do know what you mean, was thinking about this the day, when riding down the beast. Came to the conclusion that people must have just gone alot slower…

    I remember riding down the Gap on my 1994 Orange P7 complete with flat bars, rigid form and 130mm stem. It was a case of hanging on through the pounding, and taking the occasional crash. I remember one long drawn out crash where I got knocked off line, bounced across the trail a bit and ended up over the bars onto the grass. I was completely unharmed. However if I crashed on the Gap at the speeds I usually travel at now on my 5″ travel bike, I’d probably need the air ambulance. Or the air hearse, if they have those.

    Still, the bikes might have come on in leaps and bounds but has the amount of fun changed?

    I have to say, I think it has. Cwmcarn last Saturday was almost a religious experience in places. Way way faster, with way way more control means that a section of slighly curving trail 10 years ago becomes a sweet sequence of corners…

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Subscriber

    Has the fun got more because it is easier to feel that you’re a better rider?

    No bad thing, but it’s interesting psychologically.

    The way a ride works has definitely changed for me. I struggle to think when I last went out with an OS map and played “touch each side”, which used to be a fairly standard piece of ride planning in about 1999… A lot of miles, a lot of views, and the occasional frantic scrabble down something terrifyingly rocky folllowed by a period of massaging the wrists.

    πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    A year or so ago, I went riding with my brother for the first time in years. We rode up in Swaledale, where we rode with our dad as teenagers. I’d not really ridden up there for ages, so it was interesting to see how much faster I was.

    Then: rigid Kona Hahanna, with narrow flat bars, cantis, clips and straps and 2.1″ tyres typical mid-90s set-up. This bike, but with gears:

    Now: rigid On-One Inbred Hahanna, with wide riser bars, V brakes, flat pedals and 2.25″ tyres. This bike, but without the chicken coop:

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    I know that by the time I started riding in about ’03 it was more about challenging terrain, cleaning a climb or a scary drop-off, than mashing out the miles. Although I’m aware that there were plenty of people doing stuff that scared them back then, too.

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    I ride my ti ibis that I bought in 94 more than anything else, maybe 2 oer 3 times a week. But it has a disk on the front, reluctanly it has pace sus forks which are mostly locked out and it has risers.. oh and one gear. I still love it and I dont usually get left too far behind in group rides.

    how did we manage without wide bars, disc brakes and suspension?

    we didn’t need them

    A typical xc race course circa 1996, the Towcester series if anyone remembers them?

    The course was a field,a short section of smooth flowing singletrack through the woods and a few whoops up and down a section of the 4×4 course.

    zaskar
    Member

    I find riding an old bike with rigid single speed makes you work hard and improves your handkling skills and rattles your teeth loose!

    Then come back to suspension and lighter bikes and you fly like a rocket from the skills and fitness you’ve gained!

    Plus fun factor.

    One thing-I always use disc brakes to try to stop as I hate rim brakes for lack of power on retro.

    Good thing they make rigid forks with disc mounts.

    Wiredchops
    Member

    I ride my rigid SS round the peaks during the winter. The lack of modern trinketry does make it easier to maintain during the worst weather. However there’s no denying the cost in terms of speed, comfort and control. Like has been very well said though, it’s just as much fun. Is also part of the reason I refuse to go up to full sus. Like BD said, if I chicken out of something I’ll berate myself rather than my bike. I’ve seen people go faster than I ever could on bikes more ‘harsh’ than mine. I know in many cases it’s not the bike that’s slowing me down.
    I still use a disc brake on the front though. I have to admit, that’s one bit of tech which I think has revolutionised mountain biking. They’re fantastically effective.
    I must admit though, I do often dream of riding just one bit of flowing, smooth, wooded singletrack. The rocks of the peak get a little wearing after a while.

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    how did we manage without wide bars, disc brakes and suspension?

    we didn’t need them

    You don’t need them now.

    sq225917 – Member
    If you can’t pitch yourself over the bars with your little finger on your cantilever brakes then you need a lesson in bike set up, not disc brakes.

    As I said

    as for brakes I am using the new Avid shorty4’s and they are superb

    on the road

    Yes they lift the backend no problem on the road, but off road they do not work as well guess thats why they are called retro(grade)

    As for lessons in bike set up yes please, I may have missed something in the last 25 years of not using a bike shop mechanic πŸ™„

    I am off in a bit on my cotic I will leave the past behind me for off road use

    GavinT
    Member


    I recently rebuild my old ’92 Eldridge Grade in as close to its original spec as I could manage. My only real concession was to fit SPDs – There’s no way I’m going to go back to toe straps and I hate flats. (Yes, I know it’s got flats in the picture). I still found it lots of fun to ride – Narrow bar felt a bit odd but wasn’t a problem.

    clubber
    Member

    Flat bars = no control

    No way – flat bars have nothing to do with control – only maybe the relative lack of width and height that you get compared to risers. FWIW, I don’t find that I ride significantly better or differently with 23″ or 26″ wide bars…

    rigid forks = mega discomfort and my lights were bouncing all over the place

    Well they certainly force you to pick lines rather than just bashing through things but then if you really want to smooth everything out and make it easy, why not just ride on the road? With practice, you get better at spotting lines at speed and just as importantly, riding light over bumpier stuff.

    Cantilevers = suicide they do not work unless you use 4 fingers

    Bad setup I’m afraid. Properly set up cantis will pitch you over the bars no problem – except in horrible mud/wet maybe though having said that, original pads aren’t always great so different pads (Aztec eagle claws,etc) may make a big difference. The real issue with cantis over discs is that they’re much less good when it’s really muddy.

    FWIW, I’ve ridden my local trails for about 15 years in which time the bikes people ride has changed a lot (from mainly fully rigid to a lot of people on full sussers though plenty have rigid SSs to deal with the mud) and in that time, I reckon that the majority of people still ride similar trails at similar speeds. Perception is a powerful thing and I find it pretty amusing hearing people talking about what you ‘need’ to ride the trails here.

    I think it was simply a case of we went slower and more carefully. to some extent we rode less difficult terrain as well – I am sure Glentress when I first went there years and years ago had smaller obstacles on it.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    then if you really want to smooth everything out and make it easy, why not just ride on the road?

    That’s pretty damn close to the silliest thing I’ve read on STW.

    I’ve still got my Principia frame hanging in the garage. Maybe I should rebuild it.
    Nah.

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    I am sure Glentress when I first went there years and years ago had smaller obstacles on it

    Do we need to buy ‘bigger bikes’ because the obstacles have got bigger, or havbe the obstacles gotten bigger because people ride bigger bikes? Discuss.

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    Oh and, old and retro are not the same thing.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Subscriber

    I don’t recognise “need” as a valid argument for mountain bike equipment. I do this for fun, so if I want stuff, I’ll get it. I also don’t necessarily feel I need to justify what’s on my bike now, or understand the scathing attitude of folk desperate to hang onto some bit of kit.

    The thing I think made the biggest difference over the years that never gets mentioned in these discussions is chainring sizes. I could probably ride just as happily with a rigid bike with rubbish brakes, but please don’t make me ride 48,38,28….

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Subscriber

    Nick, agreed that “need” is irrelevant if, as we have grown used to in the last few years, you can afford anything you want.

    Where it comes in, surely, is when you’ve lost/broken your Β£3k full susser, it ain’t insured and your budget for replacing it is Β£500.

    At that point, presumably, most of us would spend the Β£500 on a rigid inbred rather than taking up another sport, and would carry on enjoying ourselves?

    πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon nickc
    Subscriber

    Agreed. (If I actually had the money for a 3K full-susser in the first place…) πŸ™‚

    I ride both a big modern full bounce disk brakes riser bar β€˜all mountain’ monster – and a 97 vintage clockwork in pretty much original trim – flat & narrow bars V brakes – both give a great, but different ride the clockwork is not as quick and needs more care about line choice and is better on shorter (under 3 hours) rides – the yeti will take on anything, is faster downhill and much more forgiving – I ride both weekly – both make me smile a lot

    Dibbs
    Member

    Re: canti setup, you could set them up as well as you liked but after ten wet miles on the Quantocks the pads would have worn and the straddle wire angle would have changed meaning you either put up with crap braking or stopped and set your brakes up again.

    Premier Icon pypdjl
    Subscriber

    You don’t need them now.

    You don’t need a bike at all, just go for a nice walk instead.

    Premier Icon Wally
    Subscriber

    My 93 Sworks – in full commuter/child pulling mode.

    I know the mudguards/lights/kiddie bracket/lock spoil things – but uglyness is a good thing when you lock it up, hence the rustproofing paint splodges.
    Campag chainset is unusual.

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